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Getting Real : Why Google Can't Lose In EU Investigation

Today's announcement by the European Commission that it is launching a formal investigation into supposed allegations that Google may be doing some dodgy businesses comes as a sobering reality check into the power that the Internet behemoth wields over our lives.

Google clearly cannot make everybody happy - especially the complainants - and the claims that it has illegally pushed its own services ahead of rivals on its search engine result pages and preventing publishers from striking deals with third party ad brokers can be partially disputed.

It's interesting to note that one of the complainants, Foundem, said that Google should not be allowed to discriminate in favour of its own services and that Google should clearly label its own services in search results.

The UK-based entity has pushed for the concept of Search Neutrality which advocates that "the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet".

The issue is that Google runs a for-profit business that works by providing things for free and then charging the providers, not the users. Everything Google does, from Gmail to Youtube, follows this fundamental rule.

In the case of Foundem who said that Google pushed its own price comparison service above anybody else, we couldn't find any hint of it, at least on

A quick search for price comparison sites, websites and a number of other keyword combinations brought up a wide variety of Foundem competitors like Pricerunner, Kelkoo or Moneysupermarket but not Google Shopping.

Google has been tinkering with comparison technology since the beginning of the year and it is only a matter of time before they launch their own comparison service.

When this time comes (and it will come, rest assured), comparison websites will have to take a long hard look at their business outlook and look elsewhere; putting all your eggs in the same basket was never an excellent strategy.